newJEN LAKE SHASTA RECAP
Tournament number two of the 2021 season had some rain, a little stress, a whole lot of good times, and this event is in the books. The second event of the season was the NewJen Bass inaugural Pro/Am event on Lake Shasta. This event was a 3 day shared weight format pro/am and it's one to remember. This is a recap of tournament number two.
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This event was a last minute add to my 2021 schedule. I wanted to fish it but had to wait to make sure it would fit in with everything else going on in 2021. After fishing the first event of the season on the same lake, I knew I had to get out there again for this one. This event was different, in that it was a shared weight pro/am (if you don’t know how a shared weight event works, let me know, I’ll do a whole blog on that) and this was my first shared weight tournament. I was prepared and ready to get back at it and couldn’t wait for tournament day to come.
Thursday finally rolled around and it was time to load up and hit the road. Got all the gear loaded in the 4Runner and hit Hwy 50, heading to Redding. I turned on the usual Ike Live Podcast and made the, almost, three hour drive to Redding. As I got into Redding, I received a call from my day 1 partner Jeff Michaels. We agreed on a time and place to meet and were all set. I was super excited to have Michaels as my day 1 partner because he is a hammer on the west coast and really knows Lake Shasta. I pulled into Bridge Bay Marina and got checked into my room. I then made the run down to Phil’s Propeller to grab a few last minute items. I sat in the parking lot for the mandatory meeting, which was live on Facebook due to COVID restrictions. After the meeting, I grabbed my stuff and headed back to the room. I got all geared up and ready to go for day one and headed to bed.
My early morning alarm started blasting on day 1 and I was ready to rock! I brewed a pot of coffee, had a morning snack, and took a quick shower. I suited up for the day and headed down to meet Jeff near the ramp. We got the boat ready to go and put it in the water, then we waited for blast off. 6:47 was official time and the blast off began. They finally called our number (27) and away we went. We made a pretty long run to our first spot, which would be the spot where we spent the rest of the day.
I started off throwing a Neko rig, but they just weren’t having it, so I switched over to a drop shot and started fishing that. Jeff quickly put several fish in the box, but the bite from the back was slower. I eventually added one to the live well, followed by some "no help" fish. We fished a long stretch of bank back and forth culling up several fish, then came a good one. Jeff hooked into it and I was ready with the net. The fish finally came up to the top and I scooped him. This was a 3 plus pounder and definitely helped our bag, culling out a much smaller fish. Jeff shared a Z Man Fatty Z with me, which is what he was being so successful with. The bait change made a huge difference and I started catching a lot more fish. As we continued to fish this stretch, Jeff told me there were big ones in there and that we just had to find them. After not too long, Jeff hooked another good one. I got up and ready with the net. This fish came up and it was a tank! Coming in at almost 5 pounds, I got it in the net and we added it to the box.
We fished this stretch the rest of the day and culled up several more times before heading back to the scales. Check in was at 3:15 and I was excited to see what we had. We got to the dock, tied off, and bagged up the fish. Jeff took them to the scales and we had a day one weight of 13.93 pounds, putting us in first place. We held first until one of the last boats to weigh came in and brought a 9 pound kicker to the scales, with a total bag weight of over 18 pounds. This knocked us down to second, but that’s still not bad.
We got Jeff’s boat out of the water and I headed back to my room to drop off my gear. Day two I had drawn Jesse Slaton, so I shot him a text to see where he wanted to meet in the morning. I headed back down to Phil’s to grab some Fatty Z’s and then headed into Redding to grab some dinner. While driving down, I gave Jesse a call. I introduced myself and asked Jesse where he wanted to meet. That was when he told me he had blown his big motor on day one and that we would be having to stay close to launch, while only using the trolling motor day two. Finding this out immediately took a ton of air out of my sales and I became very stressed. I was sitting in second and needed to stay in the top 14 to make day three. I was bummed out for a minute, but then told myself that all I can do is go give it my all. Jesse and I agreed on where to meet and we contacted the tournament directors to ensure we were crystal clear on where off limits were. I headed back to the room, prepped my gear, and crashed out for a good night’s sleep.
My alarm went off, and again I brewed a pot of coffee, took a quick shower, and loaded up my gear. I headed down to the ramp where I met up with Jesse. We got his boat in the water and staged up for blast off. Once our number was called, we headed out with the small motor and started fishing. Just a couple casts in, Jesse hooked up with his first spotted bass. I followed that up with number two and number three. By 8:00 am, we had a 5 fish limit in the boat with about 7 pounds. We fished hard and culled up multiple times before 10 am, and then the bite just shut off. We fished and fished and fished and only put 1 small fish in the boat. Around 3 pm, we started fishing around one last spot before heading in and BOOM, Jesse hooked up with a pretty decent fish! We were able to cull up and figured we were sitting close to 9 pounds by now. We landed a few more fish that didn’t help at all and then headed into the scales. To say I was nervous, would be an understatement. I had no idea what it was going to take to make the cut and I figured I would be on the bubble. Jesse took our fish to the scales and we ended the day with 8.61lbs. This left me with a two day total of 22.54lbs, but I didn’t know what place I was sitting in.
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We got Jesse’s boat out of the water and as I got my gear out of the boat I heard the announcement. The cut weight for the amateur side was 20 pounds and some change. I jumped with excitement and was so pumped that I made day three! I headed down to the scales and found out I was sitting in 6th place. I was told that day three pairings would be announced as soon as possible. I had made myself a deal that if I made the cut, I could get some pizza! My version of Palaniuk’s cut ice cream. I headed down to Redding and grabbed a pizza and grabbed a few things from Wal-Mart. I then got a call from my day three pro, Chris Martin. He told me he was on a great spinnerbait bite and that we would be fishing one spot all day. We agreed on a time to meet and I headed back to the room. I retied several rods, preparing for a day three reaction bite. I then headed to bed but didn’t get great sleep because I was too excited.
I woke up before my alarm on day three, followed my normal morning routine and got all loaded up to go fish. I headed down to our meeting spot and I was early, like I knew I would be. As I was sitting there waiting, Chris came up to the window and I found out we both couldn’t sleep because of excitement. We got the boat in the water and headed over to the slip they had ready with our names on it. I was soaking in my first-ever, day three in a pro/am tournament and couldn’t wait to start fishing! We took a moment of silence for service members, veterans, and first responders, then the national anthem played and blast off started. We blasted off in order and when they called boat 6, away we went. We made a 10 to 15 minute run to the spot we would spend the whole day. We started fishing and Chris put our first keeper in the boat within minutes. We fished a large ball of bait the whole day, repositioning the boat when we needed to. It did not take long to have a small limit in the boat. I was throwing straight off the back of the boat into the mouth of the cut we were fishing. I was slow rolling a Torrent Lure Company hidden weight spinner bait, when I felt it get hit, but I missed it. I continued to slow roll the bait and right below the boat...BOOM, it hit it again. I set the hook and didn’t miss it this time. Chris got the net and I brought this beautiful spot up. Chris made the scoop and bam! At almost 3 pounds, she was in the box.
Chris was definitely putting fish in the boat faster than I was but I was putting in work. I continued fishing straight off the back of the boat and you could feel the shad tapping your line as I was rolling it through. As I got the bait close to the boat again, boom! The bait got slammed and I set the hook. Chris quickly got the net and it was a 2 plus pound largemouth, added to the box. We were catching fish left and right! Chris was catching a lot, but when he set the hook on this next one, you could tell it was good. He had switched to an A-Rig and was bringing in something heavy. I was ready with the net and that first flash looked like a giant. As Chris got the fish up to the surface, we found he had doubled on the A-Rig which made it look like a giant. They both ended up being almost 2 pounds and helped us cull up. At this point, we had 2 fish in the box that were under 2 pounds and we were on a mission to get rid of them. As we continued to fish the shad ball that was about the size of a truck, I continued slow rolling the spinnerbait. We changed some angles and all of the sudden I get smashed! I set the hook and pulled another beauty to the boat that ended up being another over 2 pounds. We tried to get rid of that last fish that was under 2 pounds. Caught several more fish, including three more doubles by Chris on the A-Rig, but we couldn’t cull that last one. We headed to the check in and we were feeling real good with the bag we had put together.
They weighed boats from 14th up to first and we waited our turn. As they got closer and called our number, we headed up to the scales together. We started out weighing my big fish which came in at 2.65 pounds on the official scale. Our total bag came in at 11.48, pushing me up to 1st place with a total weight of 34.02 pounds, with 5 more boats to weigh. The remainder of the boats weighed and they started announcing where everyone placed, starting at 14. As they worked past 10 and hadn’t called my name, I was excited that I would have my first top 10 finish. Then they passed 5th, without calling my name and the excitement continued to build. 3rd was called and it wasn’t me. Now was the moment, where did I end up? They called the 2nd place angler and announced my name and I was fired up! You could not have taken that excitement from me if you tried and even though I missed first by less than a pound, I was extremely happy with how I did.
This event was one that I will always remember and was ran smooth by NewJen Bass Tournaments. I want to give a huge shout out to Torrent Lure Company, Elite Anglr, TRC Covers, P-Line, X-VIII Custom Baits, FishStyx Custom Rods, 316 Active, and the Klise Team from American Pacific Mortgage. I cannot wait to get back out on the water in March and see if I can get another top 10 finish. Tight Lines everyone, get out there and catch a big one!